MOT Inspector

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Steven Jones is a vehicle examiner for VOSA – The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency. VOSA runs the MOT scheme for cars, tests all heavy vehicles and carries out enforcement and inspection schemes.

What does your job involve?

I inspect and supervise MOT test stations to ensure they are complying with current legislation. I undertake roadside checks, working with the police and other authorities to check the roadworthiness of vehicles. I also work alongside the traffic commissioner, monitoring maintenance standards of HGV (heavy goods vehicle) and PSV (public service vehicle) operator licence holders.

Do you have a typical day?

The work is varied. One day I am in the office doing paperwork, but for the rest of the week I could be visiting test stations, investigating a road accident with the police, or giving evidence at public inquiries and instigating proceedings against operators or drivers who break vehicle safety regulations.

Do you use any specialist equipment?

I use tyre depth and pressure gauges, a torch, a 3oz tapping hammer, break drum temperature sensors, a tint man (a machine that measures light emitting through glass), a mobile emissions machine and a tyre pressure gauge. I also use my mobile phone and a laptop.

What was your route into this job?

When I left school, I worked for a few years as a motor mechanic where I was involved in carrying out MOT tests on vehicles. Then I applied to VOSA and have done more training with them.

What aspects of the job do you find interesting?

Sometimes I go undercover to MOT centres with a car or motorbike and ask for an MOT to be carried out. Fortunately, most test centres run efficiently, but with others I have to watch while they carry out a sub-standard test. After receiving the MOT certificates, I go back and explain who I am. We then proceed to a full investigation to help them upgrade their standards.

Do you wear a uniform?

I do when I am working as a stopping officer, such as when undertaking roadside checks. The uniforms are similar to those worn by the traffic police. We have our own vehicles with similar equipment, such as on-board cameras, flashing lights and an automatic number plate reader (ANPR).

What training have you received so far?

I've been on many training courses. These include authorised examiner and MOT training, as well as police surveillance and driving courses. I've also completed courses in HGV and PSV inspection standards and procedure training, roadside and spot checks, air brakes, first aid, and safety and accident investigations.

What hours do you work?

I work 41 hours a week, but I manage my own workload and timetable.

Who do you work with?

I work with the Police Service, Trading Standards, the Department of Social Security, the Inland Revenue, Customs and Excise and other vehicle examiners.

What do you like best about your job?

I enjoy having the freedom to travel when visiting operators and vehicle test stations. I especially like working alongside the police on roadside checks, where I have the authority to stop vehicles that don't look roadworthy.

Are there any disadvantages?

It can be difficult to tell people things they don't want to hear, or to close a garage that is under investigation due to a form of negligence. However, rules and regulations need to be adhered to as faulty vehicles can put people's lives at risk.

What are the skills and qualities needed?

You need mechanical skills, people skills, a professional approach and the ability to use your initiative. Computer skills and a full driving licence are also important.

Steven's route to becoming an MOT Inspector

  • GCSEs.
  • City & Guilds Motor Mechanics Levels 1 and 2.
  • Class 1 vehicle mechanic for the Ministry of Defence.
  • Worked as a vehicle mechanic.
  • VOSA training scheme leading to a BTEC National Certificate in Motor Vehicle Engineering.

Steven's tips

  • Be ambitious and prepared to work hard.
  • Take advantage of training opportunities and courses.

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Salary of an MOT Inspector

  • An experienced vehicle examiner working in the London region will earn a basic salary of £28,000, with possible overtime available.

Getting in

  • To become a vehicle examiner with VOSA, applicants need to have City & Guilds Motor Vehicle Technicians Part 2 or BTEC/SCOTVEC equivalents, knowledge of motor vehicle technology and at least four years' experience in vehicle repair, maintenance or inspection.
  • VOCA runs a training scheme for people over the age of 16 who do not have the qualifications required to become a vehicle examiner. The scheme leads to an NVQ Level 3 in Vehicle Mechanical and Electronic Systems and a BTEC National Certificate (Motor Vehicle).

Modified: 16 June 2013

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